MS Office Online Server as document editor in Nextcloud

Originally published at: https://nextcloud.com/blog/ms-office-online-server-as-document-editor-in-nextcloud/

With today’s release of the Office Online Integration app, enterprises can use a self-hosted Microsoft Office Online Server to view and edit documents from within Nextcloud. This enables companies to operate an Office environment on a private, secure server with a familiar user interface and full compatibility with Microsoft Office formats.

About Office Online Server

As Microsoft explains in their documentation:

Office Online Server is an Office server product that provides browser-based file viewing and editing services for Office files. Office Online Server works with products and services that support WOPI, the Web app Open Platform Interface protocol.

Office Online Server includes Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online and OneNote Online. Office Online Server runs on dedicated servers or a virtual machine, and thus fits in a on-premises environment with Nextcloud.

Collaborative editing is supported, allowing multiple users to work together in the same document, seeing what the other users are doing.

Integration

From within Nextcloud, Office Online Server is well integrated like our other online office solutions, allowing users to directly view and edit documents without having to open other tabs or windows. Our sidebar is available so users can comment, share, see previous versions and even chat during editing. They can also drop a office document in a Talk chat room and edit it with the other participants during a call.

Benefits

The Office Online Server option allows enterprises to migrate users from cloud services or locally installed office applications to a web based work flow, fully on-premises and under control of the IT department. Users get the interface they are familiar with, and great document compatibility.

Administrators can install the app and get started now.

4 Likes

Great news, thanks!
What are the limitations? how many users are allowed per sever?

Super super nice ! Just implemented it and it works fine ! Great work !

Just saw a first flaw : opening .txt files gives the error Exception: Could not find urlsrc in WOPI

Only when opening .txt files?
I get the same error when trying to create a new docx/xlsx/pptx file…

Oh, nice. Now if I just had a license.

Got as confused as me about all the MS Office offerings, what is free, what requires license, what is cloud/office 365 etc.
I found this link useful (has ads): https://blog.accentonit.com/microsoft-office-2016-vs.-office-365-vs.-microsoft-365-vs.-office-online

Please report bugs to https://github.com/nextcloud/officeonline.

Actually it’s really buggy on new created files… Once my server started to clear some cache the problems started to arise :

  • .txt file can’t be opened (no problems with .md)
  • No more icons next to the office documents in the " + " menu
  • Newly created files can’t be opened “Unable to open file”

Editing existing documents seems to work.

Thanks RdedR, the link suggest to download the Microsoft Web App server, but you need a subscription to the Volume Licensing Service Center https://www.microsoft.com/licensing/servicecenter/default.aspx

Maybe there is another way to download the server? Thanks for help

@Matteo_Marcato These are the ways to obtain MS Office Online server (which is successor of the web server) as per Microsoft:

Office Online Server can be downloaded from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). Office Online Server is a component of Office; therefore, it will be shown under each of the Office product pages including Office Standard 2016, Office Professional Plus 2016, and Office 2016 for Mac Standard.

For customers whose licenses qualfiy for OOS, but cannot obtain it through the VLSC, the following actions are possible:

  • VL Open customers can contact their Support Center.
  • Customers who purchased O365 online from Microsoft can submit a request from their Office 365 admin center or contact support.

No free downloads unless you already paid for another license.

Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/officeonlineserver/office-online-server

2 Likes

Hello @RdedR,

Thank you for this information. So I would need to purchase an Office 365 subscription in order to be able to download the Office Online Server? any idea what version of Office 365 I would need to purchase from Microsoft to make this available for me?

We’re a small office of 5 people that use Nextcloud.

Thank you.

Hi @greavette Best to contact your local Microsoft reseller and check with them. I’m reading from the website information that an Office 365 license would enable the download for Office Online Server but I haven’t tried that route myself. There might be other limitations.

hi @greavette if you do get information from your reseller would be great if you could share!

When you buy a volume license of Office 2016 or 2019 you get a licence key for Office Online Server. It should be the same with 365 but afaik only in volume licenses.

The discussion on here now goes around how to obtain a MS-licence for one of their products?

Really?

Even if this discussion was not OT (regarding what this thread is all about) I just don’t understand why anyone would like to get such a licence for another data-collecting piece of software from Redmond? Isn’t NC all about keeping YOUR data really yours?

It’s clear that MS would bomb that plan.

1 Like

I suppose Nextcloud built this integration because the current Nextcloud services like Collabra and OnlyOffice apparently don’t meet the requirements of some in one way or the other.
To use the integration it appears you will need a license. You can argue whether that is on-topic but at least very closely related and a basic requirement for the integration offered.

I agree with many that this does not really agree with the Nextcloud philosophy on open source, however the MS Office Online Server should at least enable you to run it on-premises. Your warning regarding data collecting is appropriate as it is not clear what data will be exchanged or must be exchanged due to updates etc. with the Microsoft servers even when hosted on premises. There are ways to block that with firewalls, but the question is whether that would somehow cripple the product or even go against the license and support agreement.

I’m running OnlyOffice on a separate server which I believe provides a good level of compatibility and speed with MS Office and is adequate for up to 20 users without further license costs. However their license/cost and support model might not work for everyone hence I welcome alternatives to cover more use cases including Collabra and MS Office Online Server.

3 Likes

@RdedR
Maybe I was too unclear about one point here: Of course NC should deliver (and does that now) a tool to connect to already existing MS-Office-Online-Servers. No doubt about that from my side.

It sure enough doesn’t mean to encourage ppl to obtain a new licence for that product. And thus I think any discussion about getting yourself a new licence could be regarded as being OT.

1 Like

That was not my intention, just to clarify, inform and understand what existing OR new license and cost may be required to use this integration. We had similar and useful discussions about OnlyOffice and Collabra license models, but perhaps a separate thread is appropriate.

1 Like

I have an office 365 account.
Can it be of any use as i don’t know how to get the OSS url…

Thanks a lot.